Formosa Lily- Tall Elegant Lilies From Seed

Posted by Jacqueline Jasper on

Formosa Lily or Lilium formosanum is one of the most graceful lilies in the garden. The towering flower stalks can easily reach 5- 6 feet and are perfect for the back of the border. Formosa Lily begins blooming at the end of the summer and is the last lily to bloom in the garden. Each flower stalk will form and unusual seed pod full of hundreds of thin, papery seeds. The dried seed pods are a great addition to dried floral arrangements. 

Dried Formosa Lily seed pods

Formosa Lily is a perennial lily in zones 6-9 and is actually very easy to grow from seed. The plants can begin blooming the first year from seed. They will just be shorter, typically one to two feet tall. This is how I first discovered how easy they were from seed. I found one blooming in a clump of daylilies by my pond. The seedlings look like grass so the volunteer never got weeded out. Once I knew what they looked like it was easy to spot them popping up in the garden. 

Formosa Lily from seeds

I sow seeds in late winter. For my garden zone that is in February. The seeds are papery thin and need light to germinate. I scatter the seeds in a flat of high quality seed starting mix. I use a very light dusting of vermiculite and tap it down well. It is crucial for any seed to stay moist, but not soggy, until germination occurs. Once the seedlings are large enough to handle I move them to larger pots or a protected area in the garden. You will see a tiny bulb beginning to form. 

Formosa Lily in the flower garden

Formosa Lily is quite statuesque in the garden and looks great at the back of the border. The dark green foliage will hold the space at the back of the border. In late August the flowers will appear almost overnight. A large stand of the white blooms is a real showstopper. The flowers have a downward nod to them and the backs are often blushed with purple streaks.Hummingbird moths and other pollinators love the blooms. 

Formosa Lily, Lilium formosanum

 Formosa Lily is hardy in garden zones 6-9. This lily will grow and bloom best in full sun. It can take part shade but may not grow quite as tall or have as many blooms. The best part about this 6 foot lily is the strong stems- no staking required! Regular watering, 1 inch per week, will keep the plants healthy and robust. I live in an area with severe drought during the summer months. The plants still bloom well but the tips of the foliage will often burn. 

Every garden should have a few Formosa Lilies. It's beautiful, tough, and easy to grow in any landscape. Growing lilies from seed does require some patience but it is well worth the wait. 


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